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Bills Today: Davis thrives in Bills debut

Posted Aug 21, 2017

DE Ryan Davis missed the first game with a concussion, but came back last Thursday night to turn in a solid performance in his Bills debut.


Here’s the Bills news of note for August 21st.

1 – Davis thrives in Bills debut
In the second preseason game, defensive end Ryan Davis made his Bills debut. The sixth-year defensive end played with the second team against the Eagles. Despite missing some time in camp, Davis showed little rust in his dynamic performance. According to ProFootball Focus, Davis was one of the most effective Bills on the field Thursday.

Ryan Davis, who came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, was electric rushing the passer in the Eagles second preseason game. Davis turned 2016 undrafted free agent tackle Dillon Gordon into a turnstile beating him with inside and outside moves for four pressures on only 17 pass rushing snaps, earning a pass-rush grade of 88.9

Davis earned the highest grade of any Bills player for his performance. The veteran defensive end has spent most of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 2014 season was his most productive with the team, as he totaled 6.5 sacks. Last season he played with the Dallas Cowboys, but was used sparingly.

Davis said he feels he’s made a good impression with the Bills so far at training camp.

“I think I did a lot of things right on Thursday, as far as my assignments,” said Davis. “I kind of hard on myself, and I didn’t hit home like I wanted to. When I look at the film, I think I put some pretty good rushes on film. I think camp is going good. I think the coaching staff are doing a good job of being on top of me and keeping me healthy.”

A noted run-stopper, and useful pass rusher, Davis will largely serve as a key back-up this season. However, as he showed against the Eagles, if pressed into duty, he’ll certainly be more than serviceable. Davis said he’s only looking to build on his good play.

“My goal for the rest of camp is to continue to play fast,” said Davis. “Keep getting in game shape, and play full speed. So, I have juice all four quarters.”

2 – Zay Jones still adjusting to new role
Before the trade that sent Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, rookie Zay Jones had a rather sheltered role on the Bills offense. The talented pass catcher was being deployed as a slot receiver, with time on the outside in certain formations. Jones certainly wasn’t the focal point of the offense – he was a compliment with a specialized role. Now, Jones is starting on the outside. He said the adjustment has been process.

“I think it’s going good,” said Jones. “Adjusting. Still learning. This is what football is – when people leave, and people go down, you just got to do the best you can.”

In the first preseason game, Jones had a rather unremarkable night. Playing as the slot receiver, he ended the game with no receptions. The following week, the wide receiving core was overhauled, changing Jones’ role immensely.

As a starter on the outside, Jones showed his true talent against the Eagles. More confident, the rookie had three catches for 42 yards. Only playing a half, Jones made his presence felt. This was especially evident during the last drive of the half, where he had a long 22-yard reception, which set the Bills up in the red zone.

Although an encouraging start to his Bills career, Jones said there are certainly still areas of his game that he’s trying to improve.

“I’m still adjusting to the speed of the game,” said Jones. “And, just playing other corners, different DB’s week in and week out. Minnesota was a different look than what the Eagles gave. And it will be a different look than what Baltimore gives the following week. So just studying my opponent and learning what I need to do.”

As Jones settles into his role as a starter on the Bills offense, the productive wide receiver should only become more lethal on the outside.

3 – Offensive line still trying to jell
After an impressive showing in the first preseason game, the Bills offensive line was rather shaky against the Eagles. With Cordy Glenn still missing on the left side, and two battles dominating the right side, the Bills offensive line has been in flux on the edges for most of training camp.

This scenario combined with a new blocking scheme, has put a lot on the group’s plate heading into the 2017 season. Left guard Richie Incognito said it will simply take time for them to become comfortable playing with each other.

“We’re just trying to build right now,” said Incognito. “It’s early on in preseason, I think we just had our sixteenth practice. It’s still new, it’s a new system, there are some old pieces but this is a new system for the most part, so it’s going to take a while. It’s going to take now, and a few weeks into the season for us to really find our rhythm.”

The Bills allowed eight tackles for a loss, and six sacks in their game against the Eagles. After creating enormous rushing lanes against the Vikings, the Bills couldn’t replicate their success again against the Eagles.

As camp wanes, the Bills will likely look to start stabilizing the line, so the starting unit can jell before the season starts. With the Bills cautiously optimistic that Glenn will return, and two strong battles occurring at right guard and right tackle, this unit shouldn’t be considered too worrisome. An area of strength last season, the line will only improve as the season approaches.

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